Thank you Larry for your generous introduction and thank you for all of the excellent work you have done to make our rebuilding such an enormous success.
First let me acknowledge some of our distinguished guests:
Finally, the man to whom we owe so much of what we are celebrating today, Larry Silverstein, one of Lower Manhattan's true visionaries and one of our city's greatest champions. I want to express to you, on behalf of our Downtown community, our deepest gratitude for your determination, in the face of doubt and skepticism, to invest in our neighborhood and to help us build for a bright future.
Thirteen years ago, when so many said Downtown would never recover from the barbarity that drove so many away, Larry echoed the spirit of our community when he said "Never bet against New York."
And how right he was.
Today, as we look around us, we see that Lower Manhattan has come roaring back; becoming a hub not only for global finance, but our city's most diverse and dynamic neighborhood.
Media, advertising, technology, fashion, all manner of creative industries are flocking here and bringing their workers with them.
In fact, as was recently documented, after Conde Nast made the decision to locate its headquarters at One World Trade Center - which will open in a few short months - many of the businesses that cater to its workers are looking to open up down here as well.
It is a textbook example of how new businesses beget new businesses. As more and more companies relocate or open up shop, they are then followed by retail, restaurants, and so many others, diversifying the economy and in turn drawing in new residents and new firms.
In addition to Conde Nast, One World Trade has been filling up, recently announcing that real estate giant Cushman and Wakefield will lease 10,000 square feet and make it their Downtown headquarters.
It is but a piece of the five million square feet of office space that has been leased throughout the new World Trade Center, including the fully-leased 7 World Trade, which some derisively called a white elephant and which now stands as a powerful reminder of how fully and completely we have managed to recover.
And it's not just office buildings.
Just a few months ago, I joined with many of my Lower Manhattan neighbors in touring the 9/11 Memorial Museum. What a powerful and moving experience it was. As we walked down Liberty Street, through the beautiful Memorial Park and to the museum, we were able to see the beginning of one of our long-held dreams: the reintegration of the World Trade Center into our surrounding streetscape.
We have made that a priority because, while Lower Manhattan has reclaimed its glory as one of our nation's most important commercial districts, it is now one of our most desirable residential neighborhoods.
I have worked for years, along with many of my partners in this community, to build new schools, new parks, to improve our infrastructure and to transform Lower Manhattan into the thriving 24/7 mixed-use neighborhood that you see all around you.
And it is about to get even better. The Fulton Transit Center - our Grand Central Station for Downtown - will open this year and the soaring new PATH station is set to come online next year, giving this neighborhood as many seamlessly connected transit options as any area of our city.
That PATH station will be home to one of two giant new retail centers along with Brookfield Place just across West Street, which will once again redefine Downtown, this time as a shopping destination as well.
There is no denying it. We have established a living and enduring monument to the "New York spirit;" one befitting the heroes and those who tragically lost their lives on 9/11.
We have transformed this neighborhood into a shining example of all that we can accomplish when we believe in our community and when we bet on New York.
Thank you, Larry for your determination and thank you all for the leadership and the energy you have invested in my great hometown.